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Mobile Privacy Erosion

Privacy erosion is mobile.  Many readers move to Ecuador to gain more privacy.   There is a sense to this.  Since I began writing about International Investing in the 1970s, I have observed privacy being eroded, first in dictatorial countries, then in the US and this erosion spread globally, even to super private countries like Switzerland.  The introduction of computers, electronic banking and the internet expedited this erosion until there has been little expectation of privacy anywhere. The only maxim left seems to “our home is our castle”, so we should expect that others cannot look there.

See details of the February 2015 Ecuador Real Estate Tours

Plus authorities cannot look inside our car with out “reasonable cause”.  That right of privacy in mobility is good, in my opinion, because growing up as a boomer, little was as important to me as my car.

The day I turned 16, I got a job and bought a used 58 Chevy like this one.


I kept working and saved and next bought a brand new Pontaic Tempest Le Mans. Wow did I feel cool.


Cars were such a part of my life that can remember everyone I owned in order, ranging from a bug eye Austin-Healy Sprite to a Rolls. Royce.  I am guessing that this is true of many Americans. Cars are indelibly link to our lives, the past, present and future.  They are our mobile castles!

This is why I especially recoilied at the Wall Street Journal article “U.S. Spies on Millions of Cars – DEA Uses License-Plate Readers to Build Database for Federal, Local Authorities.” (1) This article explains that the Justice Department has been building a national database to track in real time the movement of vehicles around the U.S.. This has been a secret domestic intelligence-gathering program with a primary goal to help the DEA to seize cars, cash and other assets to combat drug trafficking. Yet state and local law-enforcement agencies can access the database so local officials can track vehicles in real time.

The article says that Sen. Patrick Leahy, said the program raises significant privacy concerns especially since it is being used to expand the reach of the government’s asset-forfeiture program. Leahy said that Americans shouldn’t have to fear ”their locations and movements are constantly being tracked and stored in a massive government database.’’

I could not agree more.  No wonder so many readers have moved to Ecuador.

Yet no one country is a panacea. The same day the Wall Street Journal Car monitoring article appeared, a Latin American Current Events article entitled “Ecuador: President launches social media trolls to monitor critics”. (2)

The article says: Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa has declared war on his critics on social media.

Then the article explains that on January 24, 2015 President Correa told how the government has a website that investigates and responds to social-media users that “attack” or “defame” his government. The site is called Somos + and Correa is quoted as saying that in response to the many critical comments he receives on his official Twitter account his government is officially waging a “battle for truth” and will respond to social-media critics.

Privacy is eroding everywhere which is why since the 1970s, we have recommended a strategy of living in one country, earning and investing in a second country and holding assets in numerous currencies.

Our homes should be our castles and so too should be our cars. Everyone should have the right to travel without being tracked, without reasonable cause. Without cause, tracking is stalking, but right now it appears that if you drive a car in the USA or post messages on social media in Ecuador, as in the USA, you will stalked.


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(1) wsj.com “us spies on millions of cars”

(2) latinamericacurrentevents.com “ecuador president launches social media trolls to monitor critics